A Just Mission
Why do American Christians travel overseas to reach people in distant lands, but neglect ministering to people who immigrate from those lands to their home communities?
Why does Western missions funding depend on narratives that marginalize indigenous leadership?
Why are diaspora Christians from the Global South not seen as legitimate missionaries to the West?
Western mission often still centers the senders, without as much understanding of the experiences of the receivers. Mekdes Haddis, an Ethiopian now living in the United States, provides a postcolonial critique of Western mission, upending the white savior complex and arguing for a more globally just approach. A Just Mission examines evangelical mission from the perspective of the receiver, highlighting areas of weakness and naming injustices.
Unveiling the negative impact of Western mission on the global church, Haddis addresses how white supremacy infiltrates and subverts mission organizations' good intentions, disrupting grassroots missions and local leadership development. Weaving together theology and Scripture with stories from people of color and diaspora groups, A Just Mission offers hope that the mission and message of Jesus can indeed become good news for all.
"Mekdes is the perfect person to talk about this complex subject in a restorative and redeeming manner. Her writing lifts up those who have been harmed but also creates a way forward for those who have done the harm to correct their mistakes. This book not only states the problem but provides the solutions that need to be considered to build a more inclusive missional movement. . . . A Just Mission is a much-needed book for the church to see the world through the lenses of reconciliation and justice."
"What if everything we've been taught about missions is wrong? Mekdes Haddis forces us to confront the dangers inherent in the power, privilege, and metrics of Western missions and invites us to a better way forward. We have not listened long enough or well enough to Black and Brown Christian leaders about missions, and that's to our shame. It's time we move from Western notions of transactional relationships within the missions field to pursue relational mutuality that can be championed by anyone, especially those in the Global South. If you're interested in missions, start with this book!"
"A Just Mission is a necessary read for white evangelical churches and organizations that continue to perpetuate colonialism and imperialism through overseas mission trips."
"'Wounds from a friend can be trusted,' and Mekdes Abebe Haddis gives a direct yet loving rebuke to the Western approach to global missions. With clarity and conviction, this book helps readers see beyond biases and blind spots to embrace a mission that elevates and humanizes all people. Haddis calls for relationship and reciprocity, mutuality and mutual respect, and a move away from saviorism to better reflect the Savior. In this book you will discover the beauty of a justice-seeking, gospel-advancing global church."
"It is long past time for the church to learn about God's missional heart from African and non-Western sisters and brothers. Mekdes Abebe Haddis has given us a gift in A Just Mission. Through her personal story of faith as an Ethiopian woman, she tells the truth about harm that has been done in the missional endeavors of Western Christianity, and calls the church to a more faithful future of missions for the current age."
"In her book A Just Mission, the African missionary Mekdes Haddis has beautifully expressed what many African diaspora theologians and scholars have felt but failed to ink. Mekdes gently but firmly reminds readers about the unconscious and yet devastating practices of Western missionaries whose gospel was wrapped in colonial flags and cultural biases that did not value indigenous people as fully human or view their cultures as redeemable. Unfortunately, this sense of cultural and racial superiority continues to blind the Western church from seeing diaspora theologians and Bible scholars as cultural teachers and brokers as well as partners in reaching the post-Christian West and strengthening the growing church in the Global South."
"Reading this powerful book reminded me that the forces upholding the existing missions model in America are strong and rooted in ideology, economics, and histories that are hundreds of years old. Mekdes Haddis gives us the gift of a rich resource to form our repentance and changed behavior as we work together to build a just mission."
"Western mission leaders must ask themselves, 'Will what got us here get us there?' It is time to consider new, just, alternative options to help us get to the next 'there.' We need a recalibration of pathways to get different laborers. If we learned anything from the woman's story at the well in John 4, it is that established leaders can at times miss the contribution of different people commissioned by God. I believe Mekdes Haddis calls us to open our eyes to embrace a just paradigm of different missionaries."
"Mekdes Haddis's hope and love for the Western church shines through full words of critique, rebuke, and correction. Haddis holds in tension the real harm done by white saviorism and white nationalism in evangelical practice with the real transformation and repair Jesus offers. Church leaders and congregants alike would do well to read A Just Mission in community."
Foreword by Latasha Morrison
1. The Awakening
2. The Missionary
3. The Doctrine of Discovery
4. Contextualizing Theology
5. Decolonizing Short-Term Mission
6. The Sacred Cow: Money
7. Restorative Justice
8. The Future of Mission
9. A Reason to Stay
10. A Just Mission
Questions for Reflection and Discussion